Many of us are very quick to label all carbs as “bad”. We tend to associate all carbs as the culprit of gaining weight which is not entirely accurate. We forget how important those good carbs are! Good carbs serve as our primary source of energy, releasing the energy slowly into our bloodstream to fuel our body and mind. Good carbs aid in weight management and keep us away from diseases. It also helps our brain to function well. On the other hand, bad carbs usually promote weight gain and affect our vitality.
What is the difference between a bowl of white rice and a bowl of brown rice? Or, the difference between a bowl of granola for breakfast and a bowl of oat bran? Or, the difference between french fries and a bowl of salad made with baby spinach, carrots, almond seeds and quinoa seeds?
All the foods above are carbohydrates but the latter options provide healthy carbohydrates – low glycemic index and least processed. In general, healthy carbs are from whole grains (such as oat bran, barley, brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth), whole fruits, legumes, and vegetables.
If you have diabetes, you know very well that eating carbohydrates raises your blood sugar. The type of foods you take affects your blood sugar level. A serving of white rice raises your blood sugar much quicker than a serving of lentils.
Good carbs are converted to glucose over a longer period as compared to bad carbs (as shown in Figure below) and thus preventing the sugar spike-then-crash scenario.
That’s how we can control the blood sugar level and stop that afternoon slump. As good carbs can provide meal satiety and sustainable energy for a longer period, this helps to stave off the urge of unhealthy cravings (most of the time we crave for junk foods, don’t we?). The result? We will be better at managing our weight naturally. So, the next time you feel sleepy while working, do yourself a favour and don’t shy away from good carbs.
Good carbs are usually packed with healthy fatty acids, dietary fibre, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. These macro and micro nutrients are the foundations of building a good health. It is no wonder that it has the potential to prevent a host of chronic conditions, from heart disease, diabetes, to cancers.
Side note: Eating healthy food can be yummy too! Just have to be a little creative. You can get some ideas from the recipes shared in this blog. We hope that these recipes will inspire you to explore the different ways of preparing and eating healthy carbs.
So, how do we know if food is a good source of carbohydrates? Here are the criteria for good carbs – Low Glycemic Index (GI) and Real Food.
Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale which measures how much a food containing carbohydrates raises blood glucose levels. The glycemic index rates the effect of a specific amount of food on blood sugar compared with the same amount of pure glucose. Food with a GI of 35 boosts blood sugar only 35% as much as pure glucose. One with a GI of 95 acts like pure glucose. The food with lower GI tends to convert to glucose slower and therefore, provide sustainable energy and meal satiety which will, in turn, results in fewer cravings. Most whole grains and fresh vegetables are low GI.
Real food refers to food that is naturally grown and being processed as little as possible. For example, reach for a whole apple instead of carton apple juice that most often than not, have been fortified. The less processed and refined carbs are, the healthier and better for your health and of course, your belly size.
Highly processed foods are bad carbs. They are so overly processed to the extent that most fibre, nutrients & vitamins are stripped while fat, salt, additives are added in to enhance the taste! It is not compatible and not absorbable by our body. In fact, it burdens our body.
Good Carbs: Which foods are the fabulous source of good carbs? Of course our wide range of GardenScent Wholefood Nutrition foods such as Oat Bran, All-Grain Best Energy Food, All-Grain+Sesame, Sprouted Legumes, just to name a few.
Bad Carbs: White bread, white rice, soft drinks, pasta, refined sugar, sausage, potato chips, pizza, sweets, etc.